man with toothache in need of emergency dental care

Signs You Need Emergency Dental Care

We all experience occasional tooth discomfort or pain from time to time. But how do we know if our toothache or pain in our mouth is more serious than just that occasional discomfort we can wait to address at our next dental visit? Dental emergencies can be hard to spot, keeping us from getting the immediate treatment we need. Here are six signs that your toothache requires emergency dental care. 

What is a Dental Emergency?

Before we go into the signs that you need emergency dental services, let’s discuss what a dental emergency is. A dental emergency is any dental health issue that involves bleeding, severe pain, infection, or a loose tooth and is at risk of falling out. Some dental emergencies just involve alleviating pain or saving a tooth, whereas others can become life-threatening. Here’s what you need to watch out for. 

You Have a Severe Toothache

If you’ve ever had a toothache, you know how uncomfortable they can be. But severe toothaches don’t just ache; they’re agonizing and debilitating. Mild tooth pain that comes and goes is probably not in need of emergency dental care. More often than not, it can wait until your next visit if it doesn’t become worse. A persistent toothache that lasts longer than two straight days is cause for concern. 

If your toothache is causing you to wake up at night, can be described as severe pain, or causing you to have difficulty breathing, you need dental attention immediately. These symptoms can indicate that you have substantial damage from a cavity or infected tooth. You definitely don’t want to ignore these issues, as they can result in severe health complications. 

You Have a Swollen Jaw

If you notice swelling of the jaw or mouth for no apparent reason, such as a recent dental procedure, you should seek emergency dental care immediately. The swelling can be a sign of infection. Although uncommon, an infection of the salivary glands is possible and requires immediate attention. The swelling can also be a symptom of irritated lymph nodes, which also needs immediate treatment. 

You Have a Loose Tooth

You should never have loose or wiggly teeth. Adults with good oral health should have structurally sound teeth. Contact your dentist immediately if you notice your teeth becoming a little loose. Gum disease or a localized infection could be the culprit. If left untreated, your tooth will only continue to get looser, resulting in a severe infection and/or tooth loss.

Obviously, if you experience trauma to your mouth and have a tooth knocked out, you must see your dentist as quickly as possible. If addressed in time, you may be able to save your tooth. If you have a knocked-out tooth, you should:

  1. Pick up the tooth without touching the root
  2. Rinse it off without scrubbing
  3. Try to reinsert it into the socket if possible
  4. If unable to reinsert, place the tooth in water or milk 
  5. Visit your dentist
lady looking at dental x-rays with dentist

You Have a Dental Abscess

An abscessed tooth is a painful infection that develops at the root of your tooth. It can potentially be life-threatening if left untreated. A dental abscess is usually caused by severe gum disease, an untreated cavity, or trauma to the tooth, such as a chip or crack. Symptoms of an abscessed tooth include tooth sensitivity, foul taste in your mouth, pimple-like bump on your gums, swollen face, and a persistent toothache. 

An abscess needs to be drained to prevent further infection. It will not go away on its own. If left untreated, the infection can spread to the gums and jaw and result in tooth loss. The infection can also travel to other areas of the body. 

Your Gums are Bleeding

Like an occasional toothache, occasional bleeding from the gums does not require emergency dental care, although it does need to be addressed. If you experience persistent gum bleeding that will not stop, this is an indication of a more serious issue. Contact your dentist immediately if the bleeding is accompanied by swelling and pain.

You Taste Metal

If you have had a metal filling in the past and you begin having a metal taste in your mouth, this could be a sign that your filling has cracked or become loose. This is not uncommon, as fillings are not considered permanent. If your filling does become dislodged or comes out, it needs to be replaced as soon as possible. A missing filling leaves your tooth’s nerve exposed and susceptible to infection and other dental problems. 

 Receive Emergency Dental Care at VIPcare Dental

If you find yourself in need of emergency dental care, call the caring and compassionate team at VIPcare Dental for assistance. Don’t ignore dental symptoms, as you could potentially make your condition worse. Also, don’t forget to schedule your routine dental appointments. These visits allow your dentist to catch these dental conditions early, preventing them from becoming dental emergencies.